Healthy choices that can reduce risk for breast cancer

Making health choices on a daily basis improves your chances of a long and healthy life. There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things all women can do that might reduce their risk. At this time, the best advice to possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer is to:

  • Get regular, intentional physical activity--Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk.
  • Reduce your lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories and getting regular physical activity--Both increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol intake--Compared with non-drinkers, women who consume 1 alcoholic drink a day have a very small increase in risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who don't drink alcohol.

A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products has also been linked with a lower risk of breast cancer in some studies. But it is not clear if specific vegetables, fruits, or other foods can lower risk. Most studies have not found that lowering fat intake has much of an effect on breast cancer risk.

Women who choose to breastfeed for at least several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk.

Not using hormone therapy after menopause can help you avoid raising your risk.

Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

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